Flying for company on a PPL

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by C172, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Then we're even.
     
  2. MalibuJim

    MalibuJim Filing Flight Plan

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    I flew as a 16 yo spotting fish off Catalina Island. I had it reviewed by my attorney (my dad) at the time and determined all was good because I was only paid a commission on the fish I found. just like the crew on the boat. No fish, no money.
     
  3. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    Nice work if you can get it. And if you're lucking enough to end up being investigated by the right FAA guy that lets you get away with it.
     
  4. C-1 PILOT

    C-1 PILOT Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I believe you are correct, if one is flying alone. I thought it would be good with passengers, until I read FAA’s counsels report on the subject.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I suspect your father was looking at the so-called "Alaska exception" when advising you. There was a recent discussion here which talked a bit about it. Basically, it is that an Alaska guide who is also a private pilot may fly passengers as part of a package because transporting the people to the site is merely incidental to the pilot's activity s a guide. There is a document on the alaska.gov website which lays out the limits of the "exception" and indicates it was written by the FAA Regional Counsel. It more or less tracks the decision in 1995 civil penalty case.

    The degree to which one can rely on it for other types of arrangements is a matter of opinion.
     
  6. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Except that the private pilot would still have to pay a pro rata share of the expenses of the flight. The employee's employer could not "gift" the flight to the pilot.
     
  7. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    But if there are no passengers, (c) doesn’t apply.
     
  8. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Understood. Hence the $300 lunch.
     
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  9. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    I'd disagree. My understanding is that the private pilot would then have to pay 100% of the expense. Otherwise, his employer would still be "gifting" him the flight which has measurable monetary value. No?
     
  10. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you are sure you are right disclose all the details, including prior flights, to your regulatory agency and ask for their decision. If you are reluctant to do this then you should assume what you are doing or planning to do is NOT legal, hence your reluctance. Asking a none aviation attorney for an opinion is about like asking an atheist to explain a ruling by the Pope.

    The FAA and CASA are not the same. What is legal under one set of laws may or may not be legal under the other.
     
  11. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    No...the employer is “compensating” him, and part of that compensation is flight time.

    If the flight is incidental, no passengers or cargo are carried, the FAA says those are the conditions that need to be met in order for a private pilot to receive compensation for flying. They place no limitations on the amount of that compensation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  12. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    I'm skeptical, but I'll leave that one to the attorneys in the group to elaborate on. I'm lucky to wear matching socks.
     
  13. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Note also that (b) specifies flying that is related to employment, (c) doesn’t. They’re separated for a reason.

    “pro rata” is only required for flights “with passengers”, not “without passengers”, per the plain language of the reg.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  14. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    I'm still skeptical, but I understand your argument.
     
  15. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Remember that each of the exceptions in 61.113(b) through (h) allows a private pilot to be compensated. More importantly, each of the exceptions stands alone. We've discussed a number of different variations on a theme. To make sure we are on the same page, here is the scenario I think you are talking about in it's purest, simplest form.:

    Ed is an employee of ABC Inc. Ed's job has nothing to do with flying. Ed is going to attend a job-related conference out of state and flies there himself, taking no one else with him. ABC reimburses Ed 100% of his expenses for attending the conference, including all of his flight costs.​

    That's specifically permitted by 61.113(b):
    (b) A private pilot may, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if:
    (1) The flight is only incidental to that business or employment; and
    (2) The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.​
    It allows Ed to be compensated in full.
     
  16. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sorry, but I have to chuckle. If you are saying that the exceptions have to be read together, then the only time a private pilot can be compensated is when the pilot (f) is an aircraft salesman with at least 200 hours. The flight has to be a (g) glider tow (b) incidental to the sales business, and take place (d) during a charitable event while (e) on a search and rescue operation. He (b) can't have the prospective buyer on board as a passenger, although if he violated that part of the rule, he (c) could have the passenger share expenses.

    :D :D
    That was harder that it looks.
     
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  17. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Nah, Mark. I was waiting for someone to remove my skepticism.
     
  18. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Sounds like an perfect example of a reason to just get your commercial

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  19. YooperMooney

    YooperMooney Pre-Flight

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    Aren’t you all over analyzing 61.113(b)(2) a little too much?
    If said engineer and his co-workers, who are all the same employees on the incidental trip to the hypothetical meeting, were to say SELL the 5th and 6th seats to a couple of strangers for $299 each way then that clearly would violate section (2).
    Otherwise taking the company bird for a hot lap to grab burgers or meet with a client seems quite reasonable without a commercial certificate. That’s my extreme lay person view.
    Note that company owned light aircraft do such activities on a daily basis. There are probably 100’s in the air at this exact moment participating in such “gray area” activity.


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  20. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    the FAA seldom defines legality merely by the number of people not getting caught.
     
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  21. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    At first blush I don't see anything at all wrong with your "lay person" reasoning. 61.113(b)(2) disallows payment to anybody for passenger or property transportation. 61.113(b) allows PIC compensation. Nothing is said about non-revenue passengers or property. When I tried to coax an explanation out of a legal beagle who claims to agree with the Chief Counsel, though, he has no idea what I'm talking about. :dunno:
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  22. YooperMooney

    YooperMooney Pre-Flight

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    Hey maybe we can all write the FAA and one of us will get a famous decision with our last name!


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  23. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    You really ARE an extreme lay person .
     
  24. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ah1 This post clarified what you are thinking. You see the prohibition on carrying passengers for compensation or hire as a prohibition on "revenue passengers" who pay for the flight. Probably most who were surprised by Mangiamele thought the same.

    In Mangiamele, although it could have gone either way, the FAA disagreed. As I said, I wasn't surprised and had applied it that way to my own activities (not as legal advice to others).
     
  25. YooperMooney

    YooperMooney Pre-Flight

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    Straight from the horses mouth: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_or.../mangiamele - (2009) legal interpretation.pdf

    I don’t agree with the ‘09 FAA general counsel interpretation but they leave some hints at the end of the letter. The point out that the pilot must pay no less than the pro rata share of the operating expenses.
    Note that 2009 was the same year the “Coleal Letter”, signed by the same Assistant Chief Counsel. Remember that the Coleal letter contradicted the FAA’s previous stance that owner performed preventative maintenance was LIMITED to the specific operations listed in Appendix A of Part 43. It seemed like a very common sense interpretation of the actually regulation.

    “And, preventive maintenance is defined to mean "simple or minor preservation operations and the replacement of small standard parts not involving complex assembly operations." Id. Preventive maintenance, in general, includes tasks that are less complex than those deemed to be maintenance, and requires less sophistication in terms of the knowledge, skill, and tools required.”

    Thus, one would seem to be just fine to replace the lightbulb in their compass or ... Coleal also mentioned that there was supposed to be a revision of part 43 coming out anyways (they are working at breakneck speeds I see).
    I hope they come out with some sort of owner-maintenance category like the canucks instituted. The closest thing we have to that now is E-LSA.



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  26. dtuuri

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    But in order to come to your conclusion don't you need to leave off a few words?

    "(b) A private pilot may, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if:
    (1) The flight is only incidental to that business or employment; and
    (2) The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.​
     
  27. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Be careful when reading Mangiamele. It is answering three different scenarios. Two of them have to do with 61.113 costs. It's easy to confuse the 61.113(b) and the 61.113(c) scenarios and answers. The emphasis in the quotes below is mine, not the FAA's.

    The 61.113(b) - compensation for flight incidental to employment - is a simple one. That's the subsection which allows a pilot to be compensated for a flight incident to employment. That one has nothing to do with sharing costs and is not limited to pro rata anything. The Chief Counsel answer is straightforward (albeit not popular) - yes you can be reimbursed for the costs but no transportation of anyone other than yourself.
    The exception in paragraph (b) allows you to use your private pilot certificate only for compensation or hire if the operation is incidental to your employment and you are not transporting other passengers or property. Thus, because you are transporting people to the meeting, you may not seek reimbursement from your employer for this flight under 14 C.F.R. § 61.113(b).​
    That's the end of the discussion on 61.113(b) and has nothing to do with pro rata sharing. In fact notice that it's not even limited to what you ca be reimbursed for.

    The opinion then goes on to talk about cost sharing under 61.113(c). The answer is yes, the can share the costs with the passengers (so long as the pilot pays his pro rata share) because they share a common purpose - the business meeting. But the passenger costs can't be reimbursed by the business.
    It is important to note that section § 61.113(c) allows a private pilot to seek reimbursement only from his or her fellow passengers, not a third party, such as your employer.
    ***
    you may only seek reimbursement for the operating expenses of the flight from your passengers, provided you pay your own pro rata share of the operating expenses, and you all share a common purpose, such as attending the business meeting.​

    So we two completely different scenarios and two completely different rules.
     
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  28. dtuuri

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    Don't these people work for US, as in you and me? When almost nobody agrees with an interpretation, shouldn't they change the rule to clarify or correct their own interpretation? This regulation by interpretation really needs to stop. It seems to me they reversed the maintenance standards required by the manufacturer (original standard vs. current standard) without due process a few years back also.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  29. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No. Nor am I adding "additional" between "for" and "compensation" in (b)(2)

    I agree the "for compensation or hire" in (2) is a bit superfluous. OTOH, to say that carrying passengers on a flight for which a pilot receives compensation is not carrying passengers for compensation is a stretch as well.

    That's why I say it could have gone either way. Mangiamele is very consistent with other FAA discussions limiting the scope of private pilot privileges to receive compensation which is why I wasn't surprised by it.
     
  30. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    As you can see "C172", the folks on POA can't agree on what the FAA has mandated on the subject in the US. Your best bet would be to talk to the CASA or an aviation attorney in Oz.

    Hope you get the answer you are looking for, good luck.
     
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  31. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Well, I'm most definitely not "surprised" by the Chief Counsel. I am surprised you agree with them. If the words I struck are superfluous then the interpretation is flawed, IMO. Those words have meaning and the meaning was to prevent, say, the airplane owner from charging the passengers for the flight conducted by a private pilot. Pretty sure those words existed way before Part 135 was ever conceived, back when Buddy Holly was alive. Then, you needed a commercial license to charge passengers for transportation. Private pilots could fly them, like now, for free. 61.113 clarified that incidental flights to one's business or employment weren't commercial transportation.

    If the FAA wants to change all that then they should change the rule by deleting the words I struck out. I am not generally in favor of private pilots emulating professional pilots, whether "Angel flights" or incidental corporate flights, but I think changes must go through the comment period first. Maybe farmers, for example, would show a need to be an exception or some other group or individual.
     
  32. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    Setting aside the legality of it, I would evaluate these based on what happens if there were an accident with passengers on board. Will the company stand by you and take responsibility, or will they disown responsibility and claim they had no knowledge of you carrying passengers?

    In any case, this certainly sounds like an activity that requires a commercial certificate. Why not use this opportunity to get your commercial?
     
  33. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Stupid question, but doesn't flying someone for revenue under a commercial cert and class II medical automatically bump the operations in to Part 135?
     
  34. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Not if the passengers have "operational control". In other words, they own the aircraft or have a long-term lease of it. Once upon a time, Part 135 didn't exist. Buddy Holly's death resulted in 135, IIRC. I'm not sure that 135 improved the accident record any more than standardizing the attitude indicator that killed him would have, but here we are.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
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  35. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks Mark. You have a way of parsing these rulings that helps to understand them.

    That works for the OP since the company owns the plane. I could use GA regularly in my job (if my employer didn’t prohibit it). I regularly travel to one of our factories about 250 miles away, sometimes alone, sometimes with other engineers. Our planes insurance policy prohibits commercial operations. I think it is time to retire and fly for fun.
     
  36. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's kind. Thank you.
     
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  37. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's only incidental to the job if the engineer needs to be at the destination too, and for the same reason as the passengers.

    Sadly, it's not.

    The FAA gets to choose how to interpret their regulations. Sucks sometimes, but that's how it works.

    I actually don't think they'd have a problem with this, believe it or not... And it'd be awfully hard for them to prove that a gift was "compensation". I've never heard of any enforcements when things were between family members as you describe.

    It was, until the mechanic went to the job site. Unfortunately, the Mangiamele interpretation kinda screwed up that scenario. I'm not a fan of that interpretation, but it is what it is.

    If you eat the cost of the flight, nothing is wrong with that scenario.

    If you go to the meeting by yourself and the company reimburses you for the cost of the flight, you're OK.

    If you take passengers AND the company reimburses you for the cost of the flight, then you're in trouble.

    Not according to the Mangiamele interpretation.

    The issue isn't whether the passengers are paying. The issue is whether the pilot is being compensated. In this case, the FAA would view the flight time as compensation.

    I doubt it. I'm sure there are some, but not "hundreds". There's just not a whole heckuva lot of company owned aircraft like that any more. :(

    Depends who's providing the airplane. If the company owns the airplane and employs a commercial pilot to fly company employees on company aircraft, then no, it's not 135.
     
  38. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Doesn’t matter if it’s compensation or not...it’s not compensation for flying. That’s all that’s addressed by the FAA.
     
  39. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The Australians word things differently, but the result is the same. Moving passengers and cargo is aerial work and requires at least a commercial certificate from them.
     
  40. Nate9191

    Nate9191 Filing Flight Plan

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    I feel like some are muddying this. The "incidental part" is there to distinguish between how the business operates and makes money versus your intended use of the airplane.

    It's like if you own a delivery service business you can't buy a plane and sometimes take deliveries by plane when your customer is near an airport. Delivering things is what your business does. If you do it by plane, the use of the plane is NOT incidental.

    If your business is hand-made leather bags and you have a customer that is convenient to fly to of course you can bring them their product by air - you aren't making money because you have an airplane, it's incidental. You could obviously not charge extra for air delivery, though.

    If you are an engineering consulting firm in Santa Barbara and you have a job pop up in Orange County and one of your engineers has a PPL there is absolutely nothing wrong having them fly there to see the job site or consult with the client. Engineering consulting is how you make money, thus it is incidental.